What do you think is the problem with my new Huernia?

Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

I bought this from a local nursery and within a couple weeks it was turning yellow and mushy. It did get a bit splash from rain, but never soaked. I decided to transplant into a clay pot, the plant didn't have hardly any roots and the soil looked like a handful of Florida garden soil and organic leaves. I didn't see any scale or mites and the soil was bone dry. It still seems to be dying even though I transplanted it.

First photo when I first got it, second just two weeks later, the third after I transplanted.

Thumbnail by sunkissed Thumbnail by sunkissed Thumbnail by sunkissed
Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

Well guess no one knows. I did take it to the nursery I bought it from and the owner said to soak it in copper fungicide after removing any rotten parts. Then don't water it for a month. So I did that today.

Baja California, Mexico(Zone 11)

It can take a couple of days for people to respond.... to me it looks like the plant may have been sunburned. What kind of exposure did it have? That would not necessarily explain the roots going bad but it would be consistent with the yellowing.

When in doubt with a new plant, I try to see what kind of soil it's in before I tuck it on the shelf, and replace the soil if it's very different from what I use for the rest of my plants. I've seen all kinds of crazy things down there. It seems growers can be quite creative with what kind of media they use.

I'm not sure the fungicide is necessary (I don't use it with any of my succulents), the main thing would be to allow it to dry out between watering, and keep it in bright shade until it starts recovering. Going a month without watering, especially after soaking the roots in chemicals, seems like real overkill and not something that would really improve the health of the plant. Whatever roots may remain will probably die off if they stay desiccated for that long. Definitely keep it out of the rain, but in a nice well draining rocky mix you should be able to water every week or two with no problems.

Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

It got no direct sun, only bright light, was hanging on a porch where rain would not get to it. I started to notice the yellowing only two weeks after I bought it, so did the transplant. Didn't water is after that. Half the plant didn't even have any roots..

There are a few good pieces, So should I run water through it (I have rain barrel water) again to rinse off the chemical? It is still wet anyway. My mix is cactus potting mix,perlite and pea stones. It drys pretty fast...but in shade and with our humidity might take a week till real dry again after soaking.

Thank you for your help.It is really appreciated. I like the plant hate to lose it. But looks like I got taken on this one.

Baja California, Mexico(Zone 11)

Sure, if you want to rinse it go ahead, then let it sit a week or maybe more to dry out. If you want to take a piece or two to start a new plant in a separate pot, you can leave those in the shade without soil for a few days so they have a chance to heal, then pot up and water a couple of days later.

Reno, NV(Zone 6b)

As Baja says, no telling what passes for potting medium these days. Have you gotten anything planted in Styrofoam popcorn yet?

I'm not sure how a plant can go down hill that rapidly, even a succulent. Too much sun would be my first thought. But which side of the plant is facing out? The yellow side or the green side? A plant from a nursery may be in complete shade and bright light might be too much for it.

On the other hand, if it got wet in the rain and the soil had that much compost in it, parts of the plants touching wet compost would rot. The stems on your's don't look mushy, not like a watered logged succulent. Were they first mushy at the top or bottom of the stems? Top? Sunburn. Bottom? Too much water.

These plants never have a lot of roots - maybe one going down from each stem. They do root readily from pieces but I would have skipped the chemicals also.


Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

First yellowing, bottom mushy.
I did pull a few good pieces and put in a little clay pot to try to start another plant.
I'll do a good rinse of it today, flush out the chemical and then let it dry out.

I have lots of Huernia schniederiana, around the garden, mostly in bright light conditions, but it all gets rain splash and does very well. I imagine with this particular plant the potting mix was not good and the little bit of rain splash it got caused this, plastic pot didn't help. Just happened faster than I could fix it.

You know what really gets me on all this, is that my friend really liked the plant. I happened across one soaked at Home Depot just a week later, so I bought it for her, re-potted it with nice potting mix into a clay orchid pot. You should see how beautiful it looks now and getting flowers too. I went back to HD, they were gone.

I appreciate all your help. Hopefully I can salvage some of this plant.

Baja California, Mexico(Zone 11)

Your explanation sounds about right to me.

For what it's worth, my experience with that particular Huernia (schneideriana) has been quite mixed. It seems like it neither expands nor contracts, it just loses stems to rot at about the rate that new ones are generated. Maybe the plant just enjoys the Florida climate more than ours (which is very cool and has a months-long drought every summer). :) It did seem to appreciate being moved to a rockier mix recently. The roots are like Daisy says, rather inconsequential.

Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

When I get back in town I'll post a photo of the other plant. I don't have photos on my iPad.

What I ended up doing with the lifesaver plant is taking it all out and removing any rotted or yellow pieces, rinsed well, then repotted good pieces in a mix with more gravel, perlite, than soil. Didn't water, gravel was pretty moist. I left it in a bright lit spot where no rain will hit it.

Sun Lakes, AZ(Zone 9b)

sunkissed: I think you have done the right thing with what you have left. Don't know if it will work, but worth a try. I would say it is not necessarily anything YOU did. The place where you bought it probably overwatered it and that soil mix it was in stayed too wet. You can never tell how a plant was handled before you buy it.
In my experience, Huernia schniederiana is a more common type of Stapeliad and easier to grow than Huernia reticulata (Lifesaver Plant) in conditions that are not ideal for them.
Let us know how you make out.
P.S. It is interesting that you live in FL and I live in AZ and, although both are warm (hot sometimes!), they are very different as far as humidity and rain go.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Not trying to start an argument but that doest look like a Huernia schneideriana to me. AKA the Red Dragon Flower. I have a bunch of them and they look like this http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/61056/

I would have done exactly what you did sunkissed, probably why I've ended up with so many. : )

Winter Springs, FL(Zone 9b)

Thanks, NancySLAZ, so far plant looks like it will not make it. I have a couple pieces that are ok. I did pot one for a friend and she'll give me pieces of hers. I grew up in S. Calif. the reason I love succulents and cacti, but there is only certain plants I can grow here, too much rain and humidity.

1lisac, I wasn't referring to the Lifesaver plant Hernia that was pictured above when I mentioned I have have H. schneideriana. I guess my message was a bit confusing, just don't have problems with the Huernia schneideriana, so thought the H. Zebrina would do just as well in my climate.

Here is my Huernia schneideriana... I've had for many many years. It probably would look even better if I didn't leave it out in cold winters. Gets lots of rain at times.

Thumbnail by sunkissed
Reno, NV(Zone 6b)

All your pictures of Stapeliad in hanging pots has encouraged me to try the same. I transplanted by H. zebrina into a hanging pot a couple weeks ago. I fell apart (of course) but all its bits and pieces seem to be doing fine - there are little flower buds on it.


Thumbnail by DaisyPlantLady
Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

It could have been me, causing confusion.....your picture looks like just like mine.

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